BBC Sessions Songs Ranked

Over the years, the Yardbirds’ performances for the BBC have been the focus of various bootlegs. But BBC Sessions is no bootleg. Assembled by Warner Bros. in 1997, this rewarding CD is a very legal collection of BBC material that spans 1965-1968. When the Yardbirds performed for various BBC radio programs, they did not have the luxury of stretching out as much as they could on stage — they had to be succinct, and that meant that they couldn’t get into extended blues-rock jams. Nonetheless, their creativity flowed; if they only had two or three minutes to perform, they would squeeze a lot of energy into those two or three minutes. Most of the material on this 75-minute CD falls into two main categories: tough, gutsy blues-rock and hauntingly melodic, quasi-Gregorian hits like “Heart Full of Soul,” “For Your Love,” “You’re a Better Man Than I,” and “Evil Hearted You.” The Chess Records school of Chicago blues was a major influence on the Yardbirds, who put their uniquely British spin on “The Train Kept A Rollin’,” “Dust My Broom,” Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning,” and other blues standards. Here are all of BBC Sessions songs ranked.

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10. Evil Hearted Woman

“This is a pretty good collection of Yardbirds material culled from their many B.B.C. sessions from 1965 to 1968. This of course means no Clapton, but plenty of Jeff Beck, and about half a dozen contributions featuring Jimmy Page.”

9. The Sun Is Shining

“The Sun is Shining” is pretty good, but is very similar to “The Sky is Crying” both in lyrical flavor as well as melody. “The Sun Is Shining”, which contains the most breath-taking slide guitar that I’ve ever heard in my life, courtesy of Mr. Beck. To say that it amazes me is to say nothing. “

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8. Goodnight Sweet Josephine

“On “Goodnight Sweet Josephine”, in which he delivers one of his best solos ever, along with those oh so wonderful vocals. “

See more: The Yardbirds Albums Ranked

7. Most Likely You Go Your Way

“The Page-era numbers are also excellent, even if they are rather by the book cover of Dylan’s “Most Likely You Go Your Way” which features a very tricky rhythm, and alternating folky chords with others that are almost funky.”

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6. Too Much Monkey Business

“Beck does manage to save the day in most cases, on “Too Much Monkey Business” is even more enjoyable than the Five Live version, wailing away with over the top Chuck Berry licks that are so well constructed that you almost manage to forget these guys have been in need of serious help for so long”

5. My Baby

“My Baby” is a capable version of the Garnett Mimms classic with a strong Relf vocal. “My Baby,” are certainly nowhere near Led Zeppelin and probably indicate the fact that the Yardbirds were completely running out of steam. “

See more: The Yardbirds Songs Ranked

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4. Dust My Broom

“The Elmore James chestnut “Dust My Broom” is given a stunning treatment here, with some POUNDING bass and Relf delivering some marvelous harmonica. And once again, Beck is totally amazing! Too bad that none of the old blues masters ever played with that kind of power and intensity.”

3. I Ain’t Done Wrong

“Equally impressive is “I Ain’t Done Wrong”, a shattering blues tune fuelled by the explosive rhythm section of Samwell-Smith and McCarty. And check out the way that they speed things up and go crazy in the middle of the song. Unbelievable.”

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2. Baby, Scratch My Back

“Baby Scratch My Back”, in which Relf sounds like he’s making up the corny lyrics right there on the spot. Good guitar work from Jeff though.”

1. Think About It

 “Think About It” has one of the most addictive choruses that I’ve ever heard, but Page’s timid solo is total crap and ultimately goes nowhere.”